• Monday, Oct 03, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

TIB condemns govt move to re-register for online editions of newspapers, TV channels

  • Published at 03:58 pm September 1st, 2020
Online News
Online news article on tablet screen bigstock

The anti-graft organization also expressed grave concern about the people’s right to free flow of information and freedom of opinion

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed grave concern about the government directive to separately register all online portals of the country, particularly those of long-serving national newspapers and TV channels. 

A press release was issued in this regard by the anti-graft organization on Tuesday.

They said this directive comes at a time when the National Broadcast Commission and online regulations are yet to be finalized, and will establish total control and intervention of the government over the media,  marking yet another deathly step in completing the efforts of a section of the government to control the media.  

TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, said: “It has been reported in the media that even the newspapers and TV channels that have been in operation for many years have been asked to seek re-registration of their online portals. 

“Although it is being explained by the Information Ministry as part of an attempt to provide the media the advantages of being registered with the government and as an attempt to control yellow journalism, this will in reality only establish total control of the government over the media in the country.”

“Questions will arise whether despite the presence of laws and regulations relevant to the media, this new directive is intended to serve the interest of the media or in fact it comes as a tool in the hands of the government to increase pressure on the media and thereby ensure vested quarters remain above criticism and accountability. 

“While the government is expected to do everything possible to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of information and opinion, we witness the government is ironically establishing further control over the exercise of such rights,” he added.

Also Read: TV, radio, and newspapers need govt approval for online edition

Dr Iftekharuzzaman said: “It is absolutely inexplicable that while from the highest authority of the government, pledges are being regularly made to ensure transparency and accountability, those who are supposed to implement such pledges are desperate to create all possible barriers against independent and courageous journalism that could expose corruption, abuse of power, and mismanagement.” 

“It is disappointing that the government has ignored media stakeholders and experts’ views that the long-serving newspapers and TV channels are by their very right and legal existence already entitled to keep their online portals active. 

“The imposition of the decision, without setting up the Broadcast Commission and finalizing the online media regulations, is bound to be a big threat to free media. On the other hand, the failure to entrust the proposed commission with authority to implement recommendations poses the risk of making it yet another toothless tiger,” said the TIB executive director.

TIB, therefore, calls upon the government to directly engage with all stakeholders for views and opinions instead of rushing to decisions on a subject of such highly sensitive and national importance, read the release.

Referring to the importance of free and uncontrolled prevalence of online news media for meeting the government’s high-profile electoral commitment of Digital Bangladesh, Dr Zaman added: “Control if you can, the promotion of personal interests by vested quarters, but do ensure free online media at the same time. 

“Please don’t further undermine the freedom of media pledged as part of national independence. Failure to ensure free media in Bangladesh will convert pledges like ‘free flow of information,’ freedom of expression, and ‘Digital Bangladesh’ to only rhetoric.”    

The anti-corruption body in the release said that it earnestly expects that the government will abandon this new directive of re-registration of online portals of long-running newspapers and TV channels, and rather would ensure free media in the country by a set of positive initiatives for the media, including the scrapping of the regressive provisions of the Digital Security Act (DSA). 

It is also the responsibility of the government to control fake news sources and yellow journalism through due legal process, but nothing justifies any restriction on independent media, the release added. 

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail